Flying Solo

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Flying Solo Book Poster Image
Funny, real, and powerfully moving.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

The children hide the fact that they are unsupervised for the day, and lie to maintain their situation.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there are some good moral issues to discuss here, and some powerful insights into people and the reasons why they act the way they do.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byS R December 26, 2017

Heartwarming but Questionable Language

The book has the characters going through different tough life issues. They are honest, personal, and heartwarming in their relationships and growth.

As an edu... Continue reading
Parent of a 9-year-old Written bySawyerAshton December 13, 2011

Character is how you act when nobody's watching

Great book. Gives a great message about character. Also teaches a bit about grieving death.

A day in the life of kids with no teacher.
Kid, 11 years old December 14, 2013

Was it a good book?

i loved tha book i got tha book when i was up in 4th grade for chrismas by my favorite teacher mrs.gonzales and i read it bout 4 or 5 times, thx ms.gonazales
Kid, 12 years old March 11, 2012

From my point of view. (11 Year Old)

I think that this book is a good book for kids it shows a positive message I am an 11 year old avanced reader with alot of brain that I dont use. This book help... Continue reading

What's the story?

When the substitute for Mr. Fabiano's sixth grade class calls in sick, her message is misplaced in the hectic office, and the children find themselves without a teacher. Rather than tell anyone, the students decide to run the class themselves. They know the schedule -- who needs adults? \"What could possibly happen? This school is crawling with teachers.\"

But powerful emotions are brewing under the seemingly ordinary surface; this is the six-month anniversary of the death of a classmate, Tommy, who was often teased for his slowness, and Rachel has been mute ever since his death. And it is Bastian's last day before moving away.

Is it any good?

Ralph Fletcher teaches writing, and he teaches teachers how to teach writing; here, he shows that he knows what he's talking about. Written in simple language, this is a tour de force with an emotional climax and some big questions left at the end for readers to wrestle with.

The children in this class are vividly alive, each a three-dimensional person with strengths and faults, all of which will be recognizable to child readers. As they bicker their way through the day they achieve, almost in spite of themselves, something they're proud of, though their parents and school are horrified by what they have done. Though the teacher, Mr. Fabiano, appears only at the end, his presence is felt on every page -- it's a portrait, both brilliant and realistic, of a truly gifted teacher. Funny, real, and powerfully moving, this exceptional novel will leave both students and teachers with a lot to think about.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Rachel's decision not to speak after Tommy's death. Why does she make that decision? Does it make sense to you? Families can also discuss the kids' decision not to report that they don't have a teacher. Are their intentions good? What would you have done?

Book details

  • Author: Ralph Fletcher
  • Genre: School
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Clarion Books
  • Publication date: September 21, 1998
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
  • Number of pages: 144
  • Last updated: January 27, 2020

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